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Complete ICAST 2017 Coverage
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TackleTour Exclusive: On the Water with the New G.Loomis Conquest Rod Series

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Ready to Combat the USDM : Evergreen International's Jack Hammer
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First Look Inside the New Shimano Curado K Series Baitcasters
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An Easier to Fish Schooling Bait - The PDL Rig
 


 


Electronics Review


Land a Virtual Lunker Anywhere with Rapala Trophies for the PSP (continued)
 

How it "fishes": You start by creating a new game and a new angler, which is basically a generic male or female persona. Which brings me to my first criticism, it would be far more interesting to be able to choose actual professional anglers which is common in other sports games like Madden for example. At the very least it would have been nice to create an angler to look like yourself, rather than having to select the generic angler.

 


The analog stick on the left represents your fishing rod, here I pull back in preparation for an overhand cast

 

Once you have chosen a mode you can get to fishing. The first thing you will need to do in most modes is find your fishing hole. You start behind the helm of various boats depending on the location and species you are pursuing. You pilot the boat to a destination where you want to fish and simply stand up and get into casting position. One cool effect is the camera view behind the boat when you are driving, when you throttle up you will actually splash digital water droplets onto the screen. The locations are reasonably realistic and the scenery is beautiful even the water looks convincing. The locations however do feel somewhat restrictive, as you are often trapped within a certain area by obstructions or buoys and what should be large bodies of water like Lake Castaic seem more like ponds that you can cross in a matter of seconds. 

 


The right top button acts as your finger on the line and must be released at the right pint during the cast. Overall the controls are very intuitive

 

Once you stand up in the boat the camera view switches to the third person and follows you as you rotate and cast. Casting and retrieving is all done with the small analog stick on the PSP, this allows for complete range of motion in every direction. The analog stick acts as your rod and left (L) button is your reel while the right (R) button releases the line. I was surprised how reasonable a simulation the cast was, and like spinning gear you have to properly time your finger release for proper casting. This is done by following a color coded meter that moves to indicate casting attributes. The controls on the game are easy to learn but somewhat difficult to master. I was casting in just a few minutes, but casting the proper distance accurately took quite a bit more practice.


A look at the main menu screen and options, there are four different fishing modes, and other extras

 

Now that you have successfully cast your lure the camera will automatically switch to an underwater view in which you can actually see your lure run alongside structure and vegetation. Your character will still be visible on the left side so you can see how you are working the rod. This view gives anglers an outstanding view of actual strikes (boy do we wish we could see this view when we are really out fishing in real life).


To pass the long (30+ second) load times you an opt for some trivia, we would have liked some general fishing questions instead of simply answering questions about Rapala products and history

 

As a fish draws close to the lure you can jerk it or allow it to rest, and you can actually see the virtual fish react to your lure. Strikes are fast and furious and hooking a fish is done by pulling back on the analog stick which represents your rod. At this point the camera switches back to the above water view and you can actually see your line dart back and forth as you retrieve. A meter at the bottom of the screen indicates how far away the fish is and you use the other buttons on the PSP to adjust your drag setting. Set it too loose and you wont gain ground on fish, set it too tight and you can actually risk breaking your line.

 


Before you get to fishing you have to pilot the boat to your desired location. This looks like a good spot

 

Fighting fish is unexpectedly thrilling, and I found myself getting caught up in the action. A lively soundtrack that kicks in during the fight helps maintain that sense of urgency as you try and bring the fish in. Your guide will also yell out tips like "pull left" or "let out some line," and it is a good idea to heed the advice. We tested doing the exact opposite and sure enough we were losing fish in no time. the only strange thing we noticed was there seemed to be little penalty for excessively high sticking your rod. If you have a small fish on the line not only will it be easy to reel in, but once it reaches the last few feet your character will simply reach over and hoist the fish out of the water. If you are lucky enough to hook into a lunker the fight will be much longer and more intense as you will have to watch your line tension, adjust your drag, or even let out line accordingly. Another difference is that you will have to complete a mini game when the fish reaches the boat, where you need to position a net icon over the fish and press the correct two button combo that is requested. the mini game was annoying to me at first, but after time I began to get used to it and it really does feel like that last moment of uncertainty before you net the fish.

 


once you cast the camera switches to a subsurface view where you can see your lure moving back alongside and over structure

 

Tackle: Obviously the tackle in this game is solely focused on the Rapala offering, so much in fact that at times it does seem like a carefully crafted advertisement. For example during loading you are given the option to take a tackle quiz, and answering questions correctly unlocks Rapala promotional videos (the videos do look great however). We would have enjoyed the quizzes a lot more if they dealt with general fishing and tackle questions, but instead they are solely focused on Rapala facts and history. 

 


The left side of the screen shows your drag setting and lure depth, while the center gauge shows how far the lure is from the boat, you can switch from this view and the subsurface camera

 

During the game expanding your tackle collection is fun and picking the right type, color, and size is critical when targeting different species. We wish that the game was not limited to just Rapala hardbaits, but that is wishful thinking considering this is a branded game. Anglers have the choice of fishing Floaters, Dives To series, Skitter Pop, Super Shad Rap, Shad Rap, and Countdown balsa baits. 


In between games and every time you switch modes you will see a Rapala advertisement as the PSP loads up the options

 

When you start the game you are given the default Rapala Sportsmen's Series rod which features IM-6 high modulus graphite. As with the baits the further you get in the game the more rods you will receive. These same is true with lines, and this plays a greater part in the game as you will have to select the right lb. test for different species.

 


That dock looks like a great spot to run a crank by

 

Locations: The game is loaded with many great locations to fish in, just some of the locations you will find yourself in include lake Minnetonka, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Castaic, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and the Sacramento River. Keep progressing in the game and you will even find yourself unlocking exotic locations like the Kenai River, the Amazon River, Lake Victoria in Uganda, and even the Chuluut River in Mongolia!

 


Sure enough with the first cast a lunker takes interest in the lure

 

Next Section: Species you can fish for and Gripes

 

 

 

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